Common Theory will celebrate a milestone fifth anniversary in Kearny Mesa this weekend with three days of special events, and the Convoy Street gastropub is heading into year six with a new chef at its helm. Jonathan Bautista is fresh off five and a half years at George’s at the Cove, where he oversaw all three levels of the La Jolla institution including California Modern, its fine dining restaurant. Prior to George’s, Bautista spent five years with Roy’s Restaurant group and three years at L’Auberge Del Mar, where he was chef de cuisine at Kitchen 1540.
Last fall, Bautista’s longtime friendship with Common Theory’s Cris Liang resulted in the chef consulting on the menu for Realm of the 52 Remedies, the ambitiously-opulent Asian cocktail den that Liang and co-owner Joon Lee opened next to the beer-centric eatery. Its success prompted the partners to officially join forces with Bautista, who Liang says brings the hospitality focus as well as high-caliber kitchen experience and management skills needed to elevate their operations on all levels.
The chef has already started to streamline Common Theory’s menu and intends to roll out more changes over the next few months. Though it will stay in the vein of ‘pub-style food with an upscale twist’, expect to see some specials that will be more in line with dishes that Bautista cooked for George’s TBL3 tasting menu experience. Guest chef collabs and other dinners are also in the works. There’s also a grander plan now that Bautista is in the mix: he and Liang tell Eater that they will start looking into creating a new restaurant project together next year.